"Passion for sausage": social and political outcomes of food shortage in the USSR in the second half of the 1980s – the beginning of the 1990s.

  • Y. V. Kuzmenko PhD in History, docent of World history and international relations department History and law faculty, Nizhyn Gogol State University
Keywords: sausage, perestroika, shortage


The author of the article examines sausage as the cult food product in the Soviet Union combining methodological approaches of two modern directions in historical science – history of everyday life and food studies. For millions of soviet people sausage was the symbol of wealth. The article looks at the history of development of industrial production of sausage as well as the evolution of the state standards of its production in the USSR. The author mainly focuses on the perestroika period when real ’passion for sausage’ took place due to overwhelming food shortage. It manifested itself in long queues, inadequate service, low
product quality, string-pulling, profiteering, etc. and destabilized socio-political life in the USSR. The Ukrainian society back in the 1980s was particularly outraged at the privileged access to scarce goods the Soviet party nomenclature had. The article describes the most striking example of social unrest on grounds of food shortage in the USSR, the so-called ’sausage revolution’ in the city of Chernihiv which led to the change of almost all party leadership in the city. The author concludes that such research gives the opportunity to explore the crisis of the Soviet system in all its manifestations.


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